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February 24, 2004

Colin Montgomerie


SCOTT CROCKETT: Okay, Colin, thanks very much for coming in. Welcome, as always. It was a busy week for you last week and traveling over here, as well. Tell us how that went.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's a long way, but that's our job, so going around the world is fine.

SCOTT CROCKETT: An adventure this week with conditions and local weather?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, it's strange to try and get a tournament in where there's a four-round tournament where you're blocked off at 4:00 because that's when it rains. You can set your clock by it. It's unbelievable. Every day you've got to get as many holes in by 4:00 before it starts. It's quite interesting.

But we managed to get four rounds in, and it was okay, grabbed a plane and came over here as quick as you can, practice round today and go tomorrow. No problem.

SCOTT CROCKETT: How do you think the game is looking for the week?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm not feeling that well, obviously, because of the fact that I haven't won yet. I've played three tournaments and the worst finish was 16th out of those three this year. So it's not disaster, by any means, but it's just not -- I'm not on all cylinders. I don't know how many I've got, but there's one not right where it should be. Just little things, but generally I'm playing quite well.

I look forward to match play like I always do, although my record here is very, very poor. Why, I don't know, coincidence hopefully. We'll see if we can do a little bit better this year, but you never know. Any one person on any one day can be anybody here, so you don't know how it's going to go.

Q. Was there anything in particular missing last week, the putting?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I had 83 putts to the week. Now, that's, I suppose, six too many. So there's six shots, so that's my second place already without doing anything else. So there's not much going wrong, it's just probably heat and concentration, and the mind wanders sometimes with the heat, and you end up three-putting eight times in the week, and you wonder what's that about. So there's nothing much wrong.

Q. Have you faced Nick before in a match?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not at all, not in a match play situation. I've played with Nick Price many times obviously over the years, and I've obviously admired his game for many years. We play a very similar type of game, pot luck really, as with every game. We'll see what happens.

Q. You've switched clubs, correct, to Yonex?


Q. You've had different clubs in the last couple of years. Has that been much of an adjustment? It was the Hogan blades last year, right?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I had three different sets of clubs last year, and let's hope, touch wood, everything going well, that this is a long-term deal and will remain that way. So there's no sign of change in any way, shape or form for the next foreseeable future.

Q. Is that at all a difficult adjustment having played one club for so long?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, it was. Yes, it was. The last year's poor performance was due to a lot of inconsistencies really, one of them being the golf clubs, yes.

Q. (Inaudible).

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, that's number one. I'm 57th right now. Sometimes I go back to my room in the evenings as you do on Tour and stuff, and you wonder how and why I'm in this position, 57th. You know, it's a situation that I've got to try and address.

Q. (Inaudible).

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I know that I'm not currently in the TPC, I'm not currently in the U.S. Open or the U.S. PGA or I'm not in any of these events.

Q. Not TPC?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. So I've got to do something about it before that happens. I've got to get back in the top 50 in the world and -- not back in the top 50 but back in the top 20, so that's a problem. I've played three times this year, as I said, the worst finish is 16. I've dropped 16 spots from 41 to 57 already, so yes, it's a problem that has to be -- starting now, has to be addressed.

Q. How often do you check the rankings, every Monday?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: How often do I check them?

Q. Yes.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Recently because of the fact that I'm having to reschedule certain events because I'm suddenly not in them, more regular than normal. But when I was 2nd in the world, 96, 97, in there, there was no real checking going on at all. Greg Norman was ahead and I was behind him and I was quite happy. 57th I'm not. So as I say, all I can do is try and address that.

Q. How aware are you of how the rankings work? Are you aware how the rankings work and what sort of wins you might need in order to get back or do you not pay that much attention to it?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I know if I play well, I'll be okay. Actually not just play well, score well, right, I'll be okay. There's a difference between playing well and putting a score in the door. I am aware of the fact that I have to finish now -- because your question is appropriate, that I have to finish -- I'm playing this week, I'm playing Dubai, and then I'm playing Singapore before the TPC, so three tournaments, and I need to perform well -- very well in one or quite well in two. So that's where I am.

Q. When you were second behind Norman, was that a pretty good distance back in 95, 96?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: There was one stage in 97 where I won the Irish Open before the Scottish Open in July, and apparently if he missed the cut in the States, and I had won Loch Lomond the week before, I would have overtaken him.

Q. It was quite close?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Close enough for one tournament. He didn't miss the cut, I didn't win, and the gap widened, and then a Mr. Woods entered the fray, stopped everything.

Q. Speaking of which, we've entered an occasion now where Vijay has closed the points gap substantially.


Q. I think Matt Bush in London said it could be by the Open where he could overtake him. Given where Tiger has been the last couple years where it looked like he might never yield that spot, any comments about that?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I suppose if you are No. 1 and I finish sort of 8th, 10th every week, I suppose, you're not getting the points or rather you're losing the points that you've gained in the last two years. This is the problem. You've got to sustain that. You've got to keep it going or else you do lose what you gain, and this is what is happening to Tiger right now, more Vijay gaining, gaining, yes, he is, but Tiger is now not retaining titles, I suppose, losing out, so yes, the gap comes together. But who knows what will happen here.

Q. Have you seen much of Vijay over the last six months?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not really. We're playing in different parts of the world, but obviously to go for a record of number of Top 10s in a row, that's very, very good play, extremely good play.

Q. You're the only Scot in the field this week.


Q. Having fallen into the top 50 yourself, does it concern you that there are no Scots at all in the top 50?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it does if I'm not in it, yes. To be honest with you, although I love all my other fellow Scottish golfers, I'm only interested in myself at this stage.

The fact that -- there seems to be a resurgence in English golf of that young people -- young guys coming through that doesn't tend to be happening within Scotland, and I'd like it to be the other way around obviously. We will try and deal with that situation this week. A good performance this week will change everything, so we hope to get something out of this week.

Q. A couple of years ago, I remember you were talking about your schedule and you said in January you book it, it's great, and then about the sixth time you've flown over Greenland you wonder why you're doing it.


Q. You're going from here to Dubai and Dubai to Singapore. Does that take a lot out of you as you get older or can you handle it pretty well? Is your golf affected at all?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I suppose it doesn't really affect -- I hope it doesn't affect -- I'm sure it doesn't affect the golf. I'm not just going to Dubai. I'm off to Bahrain for two days, then London, then to Singapore. So it's not just Dubai, Singapore. I wish it was. It doesn't -- I don't think it affects the golf.

I'm as ambitious as ever and still want it as much and I don't feel the age is a factor. My back is fine now. There's no worries there. I've exercised well over the winter months and I'm fine in that way, so there's no worries. I've been throwing in some things I don't normally do on the course and losing shots. I don't think it's affected by the flying. That's fine. I'm okay that way. But I understand what you're saying. Yes, you set a schedule in January and you say, yeah, I'll do that and that and that and it happens to us all, I'm sure. The day comes when you've got to go to place K, and it doesn't really hit home very much, but that's our job.

Q. How do you like this course and does it fit your game and does it remind you of any courses in Europe that you play?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, no and no. But a plenty good question all the same.

Q. Is your ranking at 57th in the world --

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thank you for reminding me again.

Q. Well, you brought it up first.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I didn't. I think the gentleman over there did. Carry on.

Q. Is it an accurate reflection of how you're playing?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Good question. 57th, am I 57th in the world over the last two years? Probably yes. Probably yes. Yeah, last year was particularly bad, and I dropped out of the league if you like. I got relegated last year. It probably is. Over the last two years -- I'm not complaining about it, I'm not going, God, I should be higher, no. I just have to address the situation and do something about it, but I'm not against a ranking system or whatever. I think it's actually fair. I'm about that unfortunately. Good question.

Q. Should European golf be concerned that there are no players in the Top 10 for the first time?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I wouldn't say that's a real problem. First time, really?

Q. First time since the start in 96, yes.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think it comes and goes with certain timings and what have you. We know there's more points available in the States and yet it's harder to gain points because it's tougher competition. We know that, so it evens itself out. I think we've got a fair system right now. Possibly the rankings do tell the truth that there's no European in the Top 10, and if the rankings say that, it's possibly where we are.

Yes, it's not great for us, but at the same time there's a few players just on the fringes, and a good week here or there will get us back in there. But I wouldn't -- as a European player or a Bernhard Langer as the case may be, I wouldn't worry unduly about that.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Colin, thank you for coming. Good luck to you.

End of FastScripts.

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